My spiritual director—who, as fate would have it, is on vacation this month (like the proverbial New York City psychiatrists, spiritual directors apparently take off most of July and August)—gave me a marvelous piece of advice last month when I complained of stress.
He is a humble priest in his seventies who punctuates his admonitions with the dangling question "yes?"
"Remember," he said, "that 'stress' is not a Catholic word, yes?
"The Catholic word is 'Cross.'"
I found this bit of wisdom at Dawn Eden’s blog. (Please keep Dawn in your prayers as she continues her medical treatment for thyroid cancer.)
I need to keep this idea close at hand. It is much more peaceful to call my challenges a cross instead of referring to them as stress. Stress implies that I am spinning my wheels with no progress. Carrying my cross says I am moving forward. It may be slow progress. It may be painful progress. But it is progress, nonetheless. I think it also makes it easier to ask for help. Pride gets in the way of my asking for help sometimes and I sound like a two-year-old, “My do it!!!”
Yet, even Jesus received help carrying his cross on the way to Calvary. Why shouldn’t I accept help with my own cross, whatever it may be.